Lambert, now defensive coordinator at Wake Forest, stated the choice to place the younger go rusher on scholarship was a no brainer.
“That was a simple one for me,” Lambert stated. “He is such a tough employee. We simply wished to reward him. He was one of many higher gamers on our workforce and he earned it and deserved it. It was a fairly cool second for me to deliver a man in and provides him a scholarship. I understand how appreciative he was of it and the way laborious he had labored to earn it. He is such a tough employee and such an incredible man, that was a simple one.”
Nevertheless it did not occur for everybody.
Charlotte had quite a lot of younger hopefuls on its roster, so many, in reality, they needed to have their very own locker room as a result of the upstart program did not have sufficient area in its important locker room to suit all of them.
“He was so unknown,” Lambert recalled. “We let him stroll on the workforce and we did not actually know. We had been like, ‘OK, we’ll see what he can do.’ He simply made himself right into a participant. We transitioned him down and I believe it was the final recreation earlier than that spring, the man in entrance of him had gotten harm. We went to UTSA and he obtained to start out that recreation and simply performed unbelievable for us. That was sort of the end result of all of it.
“To see what he did and the way he modified not solely his physique, however how he approached the sport, he actually did an outstanding job. He and I snicker on a regular basis, as a result of out of that group of walk-ons, he was actually the one who made it out, and he is within the NFL. We had been a startup program. On the time, our locker room wasn’t sufficiently big for everyone, so I needed to put the entire walk-ons in one other locker room. I inform him on a regular basis, ‘You are the one man that made it out of there.’ It is sort of loopy, now take a look at him. It is only a testomony to who he’s, his household and the way laborious he labored.”
Lambert did not get a possibility to see the way it all labored out in particular person. He wasn’t retained as head coach after the 2018 season. However he has continued to maintain an in depth eye on Highsmith and stayed in contact. In reality, in subsequent teaching stops at Marshall, Purdue and now Wake Forest, he makes use of Highsmith for instance to his gamers of what can occur when a participant works laborious.